Enhancing accurate data collection in mass fatality kinship identifications: Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina

Sandra Donkervoort, Siobhan M. Dolan, Michelle Beckwith, Tammy Pruet Northrup, Amanda Sozer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


A mass fatality DNA identification effort is a complex process in which direct matching and kinship analysis is used for identifying human remains. Kinship DNA identification is an important tool in the identification process in which victim's DNA profiles are compared to the profiles of "known" biologically related reference samples. Experience from the 9/11 World Trade Center DNA identification efforts showed that forms used to record biological relationships are important and that inaccurately documented information may hamper the kinship analysis and DNA identification process. In the identification efforts following Hurricane Katrina, a Family and/or Donor Reference Collection (FDRC) form was used as a means to document the reported relationship between the reference DNA donor and the purported missing individual. This FDRC form was developed based upon lessons learned from 9/11 and the Tsunami identification efforts. This paper analyses the effectiveness of the FDRC form used in the Hurricane Katrina kinship DNA identification efforts and proposes an improved sample collection form for kinship and other donor reference samples. The data presented can be used to enhance the accuracy of the data collection process through an improved sample collection form, streamlining the DNA kinship identification process and decreasing the burden on valuable resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-362
Number of pages9
JournalForensic Science International: Genetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • DNA identification
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Kinship analysis
  • Mass fatality
  • Sample collection form

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


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